Crews battle two large Christchurch fires

By Jacqui Stanford

Fire personnel try to douse flames of a fire in a building on High Street in the Red Zone in Christchurch. Photo / Mark McCarthy
Fire personnel try to douse flames of a fire in a building on High Street in the Red Zone in Christchurch. Photo / Mark McCarthy

Fire crews are battling two large blazes in central Christchurch.

One is so large witnesses report seeing it from the Cashmere Hills.

The first fire started on High Street and has moved into the Red Zone.

Craig was outside the first blaze.

"We just heard large crashing sounds as part of the building collapsed in," he told Newstalk ZB's Pete Wolfkamp.

"The building itself is actually next to the McKenzie and Willis building on High St so it's one of the old vacated buildings that has been going through demolition."

Craig is unsure whether the McKenzie and Willis Building has been impacted.

While the building was badly damaged in the quakes, the facade was to be saved in a one million dollar effort.

Meanwhile a second fire has broken out on Moorhouse Ave which is reported to be massive.

Newstalk ZB's Tim Dyer has been by both scenes and while it's unclear at this stage how the blazes started, he says rumours are rife about the causes.

"I overheard a conversation in the Tuam St area that this one had been deliberately lit," he told Pete Wolfkamp.

"As far as coming home via Moorhouse Ave I'm unsure at this stage but it does seem rather odd that there are two rather large substantial fires in Christchurch at the same time."

Cordons are in place around both fire scenes.

A Fire Service spokesman says seven fire crews are at the scene of the first blaze.

Police have cordoned off surrounding streets, and traffic is being diverted.

- Newstalk ZB

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